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Steelers beat Packers 38-31, keep playoff hopes alive

Le'Veon Bell AP

In a competitive, compelling game played with twists and turns galore, the Steelers held on for a 38-31 victory on a snow-flecked surface at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Le’Veon Bell’s one-yard TD with 1:25 in regulation was the game-winner for Pittsburgh, which stayed alive in the wild-card hunt. The Steelers improved their record to 8-7, while the Packers fell to 7-7-1. A win by the Bears at Philadelphia tonight on “Sunday Night Football” will eliminate Green Bay from NFC North-title contention.

Even the Steelers’ final touchdown wasn’t without a lot of drama. The Packers had no timeouts left, and Bell scored on second down. Conceivably, the Steelers could have run more clock and attempted a chip-shot field goal at or near the end of the game.

Instead, Bell scored, with the Packers understandably showing little interest in stopping him.

The Packers’ strategy worked about as well as they could have hoped. Rookie Micah Hyde broke a 70-yard kickoff return, setting up Green Bay on the Pittsburgh 31. The Packers would march all the way to the Steelers’ one-yard-line.

Then, the Packers made a key error, with right tackle Don Barclay committing a false-start penalty on second-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 1 with 22 seconds left.

Not only did the Packers lose five yards, but there was a 10-second run-off, and the clock started when the ball was put back into play. The Packers didn’t immediately snap the ball, leaving just one play to tie the game, and Matt Flynn’s pass into the endzone fell incomplete.

With the stakes high, both teams showed considerable grit. The Packers fought back from a 31-21 fourth-quarter deficit to even the score at 31 with 7:24 left in the game on a one-yard John Kuhn TD run.

At the two-minute warning with the game tied, the Packers faced a 3rd-and-8 from their 10-yard-line. Flynn, who scrambled to his left on the play, fumbled after being hit by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, with Steelers end Brett Keisel recovering.

It looked like the Steelers would be held to a field goal, with Green Bay getting the ball back with one time out and about 90 seconds to work. However, on a fourth-and-three field goal try, the Packers’ Nick Perry jumped off-sides, giving Pittsburgh the first down and setting Bell’s game-deciding score.

In victory, the Steelers overcame a big third-quarter setback. They looked to have stopped a Packers red-zone drive with a blocked field goal by Steve McLendon, but Steelers end Ziggy Hood was penalized for batting the ball forward, giving Green Bay a first down. On the next play, Packers running back Eddie Lacy scored a two-yard TD, giving the Packers a 21-17 lead.

However, the Steelers responded well, scoring twice in an 18-second span, with Ben Roethlisberger hitting Matt Spaeth for an 11-yard TD pass and Cortez Allen returning a Flynn interception 40 yards for a score. Now, the Steelers had a 31-21 cushion — and they would need it.

Both teams suffered a number of injuries on Sunday. Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews suffered another injury to his right thumb, while Lacy hurt his ankle, according to coach Mike McCarthy. Steelers wideout Emmanuel Sanders (right knee) and outside linebacker Jason Worilds (abdomen) also suffered injuries, according to the Packers’ Twitter feed.

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58 Responses to “Steelers beat Packers 38-31, keep playoff hopes alive”
  1. taintedsaints2009 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:05 PM

    Packers have themselves a return man.

  2. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Dec 22, 2013 9:06 PM

    The Steelers actually improved their record to 7-8.

  3. tobiasjodter says: Dec 22, 2013 9:07 PM

    So in this week’s Steeler game, there were two 40-plus yard kickoff returns by the Steelers – the 46-yard kickoff return by Emmanuel Sanders and a 41-yard punt return by Antonio Brown.

    On BOTH occasions, the tackles were made by the respective KICKERS, a.k.a. defenseless players.

    So were the Steelers backing off on blocking these guys because of what happened last week?

    Why are kickers allowed to make TD-saving tackles if they aren’t allowed to be blocked … hard.

  4. jmblosser82 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:08 PM

    A perfect storm is brewing, but I have faith in the jets screwing things up next week

  5. packerfansarefat says: Dec 22, 2013 9:09 PM

    “IIIII….don’t want to work…I just want to……..” I love hearing that song at the Pack game today. There couldn’t be a more appropriate song for this fan base AND it’s players. Matthews has a boo boo, Lacy is sitting out last quarter…… WHAT A SOFT team!!!

    HAPLESS, ….CLASSLESS…..lol…lol…lol…lol…..

  6. andyreidisabeachedwalrus says: Dec 22, 2013 9:10 PM

    Fire McCarthy tomorrow. People try to act like he’s a genius coach, he inherited Aaron Rodgers!!… That’ll help you win a superbowl. 2nd & goal they shoulda had 3 throws into the endzone to tie. Instead he decides he’d run with no timeouts & 25 some odd seconds on the clock. They got 1 more play off!

    Only thing that might save him & his pathetic play calling is Philadelphia being up 21-0 after the 1st quarter. Turrible.

    – A Green Bay fan

  7. tokyosandblaster says: Dec 22, 2013 9:11 PM

    Tough loss, but it looks like next week is still for all the marbles in the NFC North.

    For you Vikes fans, I’m talking about the Bears/Packers game.

    Lord knows not even you morons will be watching the Vikings game.

  8. Kolo Jezdec says: Dec 22, 2013 9:11 PM

    That call on the blocked FG was BS. Ryan Clark clearly had the ball in his possession before lateraling to a teammate. Should have been Steelers ball. And then the Steelers can’t challenge the non-possession ruling? Totally BS

  9. packerfansarefat says: Dec 22, 2013 9:11 PM

    Great rookie running back on the field though today…..he has a bright future in Pittsburgh!!……go L. Bell.

  10. ghostrider45 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:13 PM

    lol playoff hopes… my god thats rich.

  11. shadowoflambeau311 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:14 PM

    C’mon Eagles!

  12. dahmergeinteam says: Dec 22, 2013 9:15 PM

    Just remember, my fellow citizens of Wisconsin, domestic abuse is in poor taste. It’s not your wife’s fault, and there’s no point in kicking that dog. I don’t like losing, either, at all, ever, so I will have my Roethlisberger rare.

  13. ghostrider45 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:15 PM

    omg the refs did whaT THEY COULD TO KEEP THE STEALERS PLAYOFFS HOPES ALIVE,

  14. PackersHome.com says: Dec 22, 2013 9:16 PM

    You folks get paid for this to be accurate. It was T.J. Lang, not Don Barclay.

    Good game Steelers, if everything works out, and by work out I mean several miracles, perhaps a rematch of XLV in Feb. :)

  15. blackngold4life says: Dec 22, 2013 9:16 PM

    The more points we put up..the more we give up..that’s not Steelers Defense ..Can’t blame Haley for that

  16. f1restarter says: Dec 22, 2013 9:18 PM

    A winnable game for the Packers, but stupid bush league mistakes and penalties (plus the usual key players getting injured) was the story in this one.

    Flynn was OK, had a bad fumble and was nearly sacked by his own tight end, resulting in a pick-6.

    Still should have won this game. The bonehead penalty by Perry cost them a timeout and a chance to win at the end.

    Not out of it yet…GO EAGLES!!!!

  17. doctorrustbelt says: Dec 22, 2013 9:20 PM

    Congratulation to the pittsburgh steelers on barely winning against Green Bay’s backup quarterback and their 22nd ranked PASS Defense in the NFL.

  18. ghostrider45 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:35 PM

    Omg did the refs just give the the stealers the game or what…… this is just right out of a archer serious. Lol

  19. contra74 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:36 PM

    Pittsburgh Steelers – 38
    Green Bay Refs – 31

  20. dahmergeinteam says: Dec 22, 2013 9:38 PM

    Our Packers lost. We Packer backers know we should be classy and humble when we lose, however, there are exceptions. One of the exceptions is that it is Sunday.

  21. contra74 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:40 PM

    The sad part is that the packers are waiting for other teams to lose so that they can make it into the playoffs. After all, it’s the packer way.

  22. jmblosser82 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:42 PM

    Rustbelt, still sore about the steelers keeping you from the second seed last week?

  23. cheddarisbeddar says: Dec 22, 2013 9:46 PM

    Contra has made his usually appearance, which would suggest the Vikings have lost. Again. For the 10th time this season. But he must be used to that kind of underwhelming performance.

    And GenXJay should be following anytime now.

  24. holeinone09 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:47 PM

    The most exciting game of the year from where I sat. This was a very well deserved and hard fought win by the Steelers. In the cold and snow, the Steelers showed they have guts and didn’t quit. With Bell, they finally have some running firepower to go with Ben’s passing attack. The OL did pretty well again. Although the defense gave up too many points again, there were some standouts. Until he got hurt, Worilds was a beast. Timmons and Heyward also had an impact. And of course, Troy made the huge play, causing the fumble. Something has to be done about the punt and kick off coverage however, it gives up big runs 75% of the time it seems.

    I also would question why Tomlin didn’t have Ben take a knee and run down the clock before Bell scored that TD. It was also interesting they went for it on the 4th down and did the fake punt, I guess you do that when you don’t have much to lose.

    That call on the Packer field goal try was one of the worst I have seen this year. If the refs could have seen the replay, they would have noticed Clark was down when he lateralled the ball, which should have ended the play. But the Steelers overcame the refs handing the Packers 7 points due to that.

    Last week they embarrassed the Bengals, and now they beat the Packers. Too bad they made so many mistakes and lost games they should have won this year. But after all that, it is not yet over for Steeler Nation! Wilder things have happened, and we all have at least one more week of interesting football to watch this season. Possibly, the Steelers should go out and price some briefcases for 3 other teams for Christmas presents, hmmm?!

    GO STEELERS!!!

  25. shlort says: Dec 22, 2013 9:47 PM

    The Steelers came to play in Green Bay today. Probably their best performance of the year.

    Game might not have been as close as it was if that blocked kick deal wasn’t a referee error on the play.

    The Packers played good, the Steelers played great. That is the storyline for that game.

    On another note, looks like the Bears want to have a showdown.next week for the division.

  26. bluestar94 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:49 PM

    The pack may still win the division judging by the Bears score(currently 24-0 Beagles). What a pathetic division. They would be an easy 1st round win for whatever wildcard team that comes to GB. Then Eddie Lacy could start his off-season of attacking buffets and binge eating.

  27. holeinone09 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:50 PM

    OMG. Anyone that says the “refs gave the Steelers the game” is delusional, a whiner and totally fearful of the Steelers making the playoffs. Period.

    No one wants to have to deal with the Steelers in the playoffs when anything can happen. No one.

  28. crusty14 says: Dec 22, 2013 9:55 PM

    Ghostrider, how did the refs give the game to the steelers? They tried giving it to the pack with that bs blocked FG try. What game were you watching?

  29. cobaltdriver says: Dec 22, 2013 9:56 PM

    Oh look..Viking fans on a Packer article. How d the Queens do today anyway girls??

  30. crownofthehelmet says: Dec 22, 2013 10:02 PM

    Can we please now put to rest the Bell vs Lacy debate.

  31. cags777 says: Dec 22, 2013 10:17 PM

    The refs tried (and failed) to give that game to the Packers. Exciting game nonetheless with justice prevailing at the end. Way to go, Steelers!

  32. stairwayto7 says: Dec 22, 2013 10:26 PM

    Packers got every call at home and still could not win! Bears by 24 next week!

  33. stainlessstill says: Dec 22, 2013 10:31 PM

    Refs gave the game to Pittsburgh? Whoever said that can’t be serious. I’m glad I have 20-20 and feel bad for the blind. Good Gawd. On-top of the botched calls and other bad ones all around, go back and watch how many times Antonio Brown got held. You’d change your mind REAL QUICK.

  34. cheddarisbeddar says: Dec 22, 2013 10:53 PM

    crownofthehelmet says:
    Dec 22, 2013 10:02 PM
    Can we please now put to rest the Bell vs Lacy debate.
    _

    Yes we can. Not only did Lacy have a better YPC, he also had two touchdowns.

  35. shaggytoodle says: Dec 22, 2013 11:03 PM

    cags777 says:
    Dec 22, 2013 10:17 PM

    The refs tried (and failed) to give that game to the Packers. Exciting game nonetheless with justice prevailing at the end. Way to go, Steelers!
    _____

    Why cuz they couldn’t review a nonreviewable play?

    How about falling on a ball after stopping a team from scoring inside the five after a crucial fumble…no that’s the refs fault that the steelers thought they would get all cute with it.

  36. koenig61 says: Dec 22, 2013 11:03 PM

    When there’s a reception and it’s in doubt you can challenge possession, when there’s a fumble you can challenge possession, when there’s an interception you can challenge possession, when there’s a disputed TD you can challenge posession, when there’s an onside kick you can challenge possession, yet when there’s a blocked kick, you can not challenge possession. WTH?!?

  37. trapshoot says: Dec 22, 2013 11:13 PM

    Eagles are doing a job on da Bears. Packers not dead yet?

  38. shaggytoodle says: Dec 22, 2013 11:13 PM

    I don’t think any fans of teams in the NFC north can talk smack.

    The Lions have been out of the playoffs since 7 PM

    The Vikings since 7 of November.

    and the Bears forgot what time the game started tonight.. and gave up 40 plus points.

    and my Packers even though they had some chances fell short.

  39. deisel19 says: Dec 22, 2013 11:20 PM

    This was a terrible game by both teams. Steelers were out coached the entire game. They could have used that last time out before the half and get 3 quality shots at the end zone, instead they went into half with a TO in their pocket and only 1 good play to shoot for the end zone.

    Bad play calling almost cost us this game multiple times. The fact that we throw the ball on 1st and 2nd down when we have the lead in the 4th quarter is mind boggling. I guess we didn’t tune into the Dallas game last week.

    By the time we got to the 4th quarter, the only thing I could say was “whoever sucks less will win this game” and that’s pretty much what happened.

    This season has been painful to watch. If we make the playoffs then it will be a miracle.

  40. filthymcnasty1 says: Dec 22, 2013 11:41 PM

    Meaningful teams playing meaningful football games. Congratulations to the Steelers on a hard fought win.

    Meanwhile, the Packers get to play again next week for yet another post season berth. Packers. Bears. Winner advance. Losers go home. This is awesome.

  41. bigbabies says: Dec 22, 2013 11:58 PM

    The Refs tried to give it to Green Bay, but Mike McCarthy wasn’t having it. At the 1 yard line with 26 seconds left and they got off 1 play….horrible

  42. steelcurtainn says: Dec 23, 2013 12:07 AM

    Great win for the steelers even tho the refs practically tried to hand the game to the packers. There was at least 3 holding calls not called against the steelers. The blocked field goal by the steelers which was reversed to a 1st down for gb was aboutridiculous as they come. The refs looked like they had no clue what was going on. Either the way the better team won today and the steelers playoff hopes are still alive.

  43. prostock75 says: Dec 23, 2013 12:07 AM

    “Why are kickers allowed to make TD-saving tackles if they aren’t allowed to be blocked … hard.”

    Um, because they are allowed to be blocked…hard

  44. cheddarisbeddar says: Dec 23, 2013 12:14 AM

    bluestar94 says:
    Dec 22, 2013 9:49 PM
    The pack may still win the division judging by the Bears score(currently 24-0 Beagles). What a pathetic division. They would be an easy 1st round win for whatever wildcard team that comes to GB. Then Eddie Lacy could start his off-season of attacking buffets and binge eating.

    And then he could finish in the top 10 in league rushing. Again.

  45. contra74isloosbuthole says: Dec 23, 2013 1:47 AM

    Really not sure the NFC North deserves a playoff team this year. Honestly if the packers or Bears get in and the Cardinals don’t it will be a joke. This Packer fan can’t take it. The Packers clearly are the best team with a healthy Rodgers but without Rodgers it really showcases the ineptitude of the entire division. Schwartz should be fired immediately.

  46. sellout1983 says: Dec 23, 2013 6:53 AM

    crownofthehelmet says:
    Dec 22, 2013 10:02 PM
    Can we please now put to rest the Bell vs Lacy debate.

    44 16
    Report comment

    What debate? Gio Bernard is better than both combined..

  47. pabrownsfan says: Dec 23, 2013 7:16 AM

    Congrats to all Steeler fans. I thought they were dead in the water when they started 0-4.

  48. schmokes says: Dec 23, 2013 7:26 AM

    It only took bell 15 games to get a 100 yard rushing performance, and the steelers are thrilled about this guy? Packers have 3 rb’s with 100 yard games this year. Bucs have 3. Vikings have 3. Jets have 2. Jaguars have 2….but Steelers fans continue to celebrate pure mediocrity.

  49. jm91rs says: Dec 23, 2013 8:46 AM

    There is no way that Flynn realized the clock was going to start running on that last play. 10 seconds is easily enough time to attempt 2 passes, yet he waits until about 6 seconds to start the play. Terrible clock management.
    And then the fact that they ran it once (attempted to run it twice, but the false start killed that) is a mystery too. Obviously they have not practiced the 2 minute drill with Flynn.
    Thankfully none of that matters because the Bears lost and the winner of the game next Sunday will determine who gets in. Unbelievable that an 8-8 team could make the playoffs.

  50. crownofthehelmet says: Dec 23, 2013 10:17 AM

    cheddarisbeddar says:
    Not only did Lacy have a better YPC, he also had two touchdowns.
    ————————————————
    And was riding the pine, again with injury issues, when his team needed him most. Bell, on the other hand, was busy being the durable workhorse and scoring the game-winner. YPC? That’s your total rating system?

  51. williamshatnerstoupee says: Dec 23, 2013 10:22 AM

    schmokes, why so angry? You haven’t watched Bell this year, so you don’t know.

  52. clemenza58 says: Dec 23, 2013 10:59 AM

    Question for Mike McCarthy: I thought you were going to beat Pittsburgh with Matt Flynn. What happened?

  53. schmokes says: Dec 23, 2013 11:01 AM

    Bell is on my fantasy team. Stayed in my bench most of the year since he was such a disappointment.

  54. steel2372 says: Dec 23, 2013 11:03 AM

    doctorrustbelt

    ————————————————

    A win is a win and we will take it!! Go Steelersssss!

  55. Nofoolnodrool says: Dec 23, 2013 12:02 PM

    tokyosandblaster | Dec 22, 2013, 9:11 PM EST
    Tough loss, but it looks like next week is still for all the marbles in the NFC North.

    For you Vikes fans, I’m talking about the Bears/Packers game.

    Lord knows not even you morons will be watching the Vikings game.

    I almost forgot about you blaster. Great win by the steelers huh? I had a great day …the ravens were embarrassed and your,pie hole was slapped shut…life is good.

  56. Deb says: Dec 23, 2013 1:56 PM

    Couldn’t be prouder of this Steelers team. I can tolerate losing as long as players and coaches seem to be giving their best effort. After the first four weeks, who would have thought this team could still be alive going into week 17? They never quit. No matter what happens, that’s a good season.

  57. jmblosser82 says: Dec 23, 2013 3:17 PM

    Bell missed 4 games this year they also managed his carries. He is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield, he has over 1100 yards from scrimmage this year, averaging 100 per game. Lacy had a better ypc and 2 TDs but GB lost. Individual stats matter but not as much as a win. Both Lacy and Bell should have solid careers, 1 season is hardly a measuring stick(look at CJ2J, other then his 2000 yard season he’s been an average back). Steelers still have the slimmest of playoff hopes but I can see the Jets being the team to screw them up.

    If the packers win next week they will be 8-7-1, if the bears win they will be 9-7. No 8-8 team in the NFC this year. Also remember a few years back the 11-5 Saints went to play the 7-9 Seahawks on wildcard weekend and lost, once your in the dance it’s a brand new season.

  58. steelcurtainn says: Dec 23, 2013 7:09 PM

    So much for all the post who said the steelers were going to lose to the packers. Doesn’t look to good for those of you now. I’m pretty sure most of them were probably ravens fans whose team only got demolished by 34 points and are on their way out of the playoffs.

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